Lynchy's Model Diary

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As I'm totally new to this, as I complete a model, I thought I'd upload the result, with any thoughts, comments or questions. That way, I can see how I've progressed over time, and hopefully pick up some tips after finishing each one.

Model #1 - F/A 18 Hornet C. Revell. 1:72.

My first foray into the world of modelling was a highly ambitious 1:72 Tornado (Skill Level 4) - but one too many catastrophic mistakes forced me to abandon it. I instead had a chat with my local model shop owner, who gave me a suggestion of some simpler models to have a go at. And so after the trial run, this Hornet (Skill level 3) was to be my first completed model.

All started off well, thanks to some great painting tips from you lot. This was definitely a simpler model than the Tornado. Half as many sprues, a fraction of the paints required. Construction was fairly straightforward; the only difficulty came from very small or delicate parts. I found that even with a tiny hint of Revell Contacta glue I was making a mess. This was compounded if the part was painted already. Lots of hasty paint touch ups required - overall I need to get better at being 'cleaner' in my process.

The paint job was a bit of a sticking point too. It was meant to be a light grey, with a slightly lighter grey tone underneath. Despite converting the Revell paint codes to Tamiya, I just couldn't get the right colour. So opted to go for this two toned grey and light grey scheme.

I think my biggest mistake was opting to have the canopy open. This required cutting up the canopy part into multiple pieces, which made the middle piece in particular very flimsy - which made gluing the canopy section onto it very challenging. A few gluey, painty fingerprints on transparent parts, later, I managed to get it into position and keep it there long enough for the glue to set.

Still, I had a blast - seeing all the individual sections come together was great, and selecting options such as armament, and hand painting individual components, such as seatbelts in the ejection seat, whiled away many relaxing hours. Looking forward to the next one! I'll be on the lookout for something simple again, just so I can get the hang of basic building and painting steps.

Lessons learned for next time:
  • Take more time. Let things dry completely. Don't rush.
  • Investigate different glue options. The Contacta stuff was great for larger parts, but made a real mess of painted or delicate pieces.
  • Use hands less and tools more. Invest in a decent pair of tweezers, and something to secure parts to my cutting board, so that my sausage fingers don't make a mess of things.
 

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Jakko

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a highly ambitious 1:72 Tornado (Skill Level 4)
The only thing Revell’s “skill levels” indicate, is how many parts there are in the kit — they apparently consider more parts to be more difficult, when in fact you can have very easy to build kits with a lot of parts and nearly unbuildable ones that have only a few. In other words, don’t pay too much attention to that indicator on the box lid :smiling3:

I found that even with a tiny hint of Revell Contacta glue I was making a mess. This was compounded if the part was painted already.
Is this the glue in the squeeze bottle with a hollow needle, or in a jar with a brush? The first is much easier to apply where you want it to (though I prefer glue in a bottle with a brush myself :smiling3:).

I need to get better at being 'cleaner' in my process.
That’s mostly just a matter of experience, so this should get better soon enough.

The paint job was a bit of a sticking point too. It was meant to be a light grey, with a slightly lighter grey tone underneath. Despite converting the Revell paint codes to Tamiya, I just couldn't get the right colour.
A better way to go about this is to find out the colours the real thing is painted in, and then seek model paint equivalents by your favoured brand(s). This is bound to be more accurate than converting one manufacturer’s interpretation of those colours to those by another.

On the other hand, navy aircraft colours tend to be well-weathered after a little while in service, so there’s no need for absolute accuracy anyway.

  • Take more time. Let things dry completely. Don't rush.
Absolutely. There are some things you need to do before glue dries (fitting tracks to a tank kit, for example) but for most it’s best to let things dry thoroughly.
 
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Great tips, Jakko - thanks!

Good to know about the skill level - I guess less parts (particularly tiny parts) means less opportunities to mess things up. I've found it only takes a slightly misaligned part to really screw with the fitting of others.

I use the squeeze bottle with 'precision applicator' tube for glue. It works fine most of the time, but it's hard to control the amount, and so I'd get a bit of excess where I didn't want it, and as it dried so quickly, it'd permanently scar the plastic.

Good tip on finding the right paints too! Mostly it was fine to convert Revell's code to Tamiya's, but every now and again, something would just be way off.

Appreciate the advice.
 

Gern

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I'm going to show this to my grandson who is going through exactly the same process as you - and having the same problems!

With regard to glue marks, have you thought of trying one of the thin cements like Tamiya Extra Thin or Mr S Cement? With a little practise they are easier to use and you have more control over how much cement you apply - and where you apply it to (although you need to be careful it doesn't flow under your fingers as you hold the parts together).

This guy shows how it should work:


Although it's not without its critics:

(This is in German, but there are subtitles available somewhere on the web page).

I started with the same Revell Contacta stuff you use, but now my hand shakes so much I can't run the tube along the edge of a part without it falling off to one side or another. No problem if it falls inside, but cleaning up the seams when it's gone on the outside of the parts is no fun! With the Extra Thin, the problem no longer arises. Holding the brush underneath the parts so that the glue wicks into the gap upwards (a little practise and this is easier than it sounds) means there's no spillage on the parts themselves. The faint glue marks left from the edges of the brush along the join are easily removed with a fine sanding sponge and with care any seam filling required should be minimal.
 

Jakko

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Good to know about the skill level - I guess less parts (particularly tiny parts) means less opportunities to mess things up.
That’s true, and probably why Revell uses parts count as a difficulty indicator. Modern Revell kits fit well enough that it’s not a bad indicator, but I’d be wary of trusting it for older kits (their kits from the 1970s or so were terrible, especially American Revell).

I've found it only takes a slightly misaligned part to really screw with the fitting of others.
Yep. For example, I’ve been building an LVT(4) recently, and managed to fit the rear floor plate about half a millimetre too far to the back. That threw out the angle of the rear plate far enough that I had to fill gaps all around.

I use the squeeze bottle with 'precision applicator' tube for glue. It works fine most of the time, but it's hard to control the amount, and so I'd get a bit of excess where I didn't want it, and as it dried so quickly, it'd permanently scar the plastic.
That’s always a risk. Some people are very good at building models neatly and with no glue marks — the late Rob de Jong, well-known in Dutch modelling circles for running De Lancier model shop in Gouda, was one I can recall offhand: all of his unpainted models I ever saw had no glue or tool marks on them anywhere. Most of us, though, end up getting glue where it’s not supposed to go. Here’s my LVT(4) as an example again:



What happened here was that I had cut up the rooftop to move the hatch forward and glued everything back together with some plastic card underneath. Then I made the mistake of blowing on it to get rid of some excess glue …

Luckily, most glue marks are easily covered by a coat of paint :smiling3:

Good tip on finding the right paints too! Mostly it was fine to convert Revell's code to Tamiya's, but every now and again, something would just be way off.
The fewer conversions you have to do, the better: if you know the real aircraft was painted, say, FS 36320 Dark Ghost Gray then it’s often easy enough to find model paints to match (though there can be a lot of variation in that too).
 

Dave Ward

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Ian,
main point is - you enjoyed the challenge! You can't reasonably expect to produce prize winners straight away. As long as you ended up learning a new technique that you can carry forward, then that's a great big plus! We all make mistakes, and bin models ( I did last week! )
Selecting a new model - do your research - the 'net is a great pool of knowledge, you just have to know where to look! I always try to get a look at the instructions first - Revell have a download page that allows you to get them without any problems. Otherwise Scalemates is my first stop * Scalemates* you can pick up all sorts of useful info - how old a model is, it's origin, reviews and sometimes the instructions.
Being a true Yorkshireman, I don't think I've paid the RRP for a model for 20 odd years. I don't rush out to buy the latest model - patience, and regular visits to shop websites can produce some very pleasing results!!
Happy Modelling
Dave
 
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Thanks for all the advice – and absolutely, I fully expected my first to be a bit of a mess of glue marks and smudged paint. It'll be great to see how the next one turns out, putting into practice what I learned from this one, and the tips you guys have given.

And of course, it's just heaps of fun, and a great way of whiling away Sunday arvo hours, however it turns out in the end!
 

Ian M

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Glue marks. Great fun aren't they. One of the good things about the likes of Tamiya thin is that it evaporates quickly. Any marks it should leave are easily removed with a fiberglass pencil, aka burnishing pencil. John sells them.
That glue in a bottle with the needle applicator. Yes it can be a bugger to follow the edge at times. Take a bit of wire, a paper clip will do. Tape it (or bind it with wire and super glue) o it is just a millimeter past the end of the needle. keeps it nicely in place as you follow the edge.
I very seldom squeeze the bottle either, I find the pressure of just holding it and the warmth from my fingers enough to get it flowing.
Also if the needle gets blocked up with dry glue, pull it out the cap, hold in a pair of tweezers and set it alight. the glue burns off and you are good to go. Never do this when still in the bottle.
 
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Good tip, fellow Ian. Thanks! I'm keeping all these little tips banked - I'll definitely pick up a bottle of thin cement with the brush applicator. Looks like just what I need for those more finnicky parts.
 

Jakko

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* Scalemates* you can pick up all sorts of useful info - how old a model is, it's origin, reviews and sometimes the instructions.
Another good tip is to search for the manufacturer and kit name and scale plus “reviews” — for example, “Revell 1/72 Tornado reviews” — and you’ll probably find a couple of sites where someone has built the model, or at least looked in the box (the former are more useful). It’s kept me from buying a model on a couple of occasions, when it turned out the (then-unknown to me) manufacturer has a very poor reputation, for example.
 
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